5 Trader Joe’s Party Appetizers We Love (Plus 5 to Pass On)

published Dec 9, 2015
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(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Whether you’re throwing a dinner party, having people over to watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, or hosting an impromptu happy hour after work, there’s no need to go all Martha with the appetizers. Instead, just check out Trader Joe’s frozen, ready-to-heat appetizers.

There are some great options out there that need nothing more than a short spin through the oven, which means you can focus on more important things like, um, cleaning up your kitchen before guests arrive.

But which are the best frozen appetizers? We tried 10 of Trader Joe’s most popular appetizers, and while there aren’t any particularly bad choices, some are definitely better than others.

Here are five frozen appetizers from Trader Joe’s that are a total win, and five that we’d skip.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Grab: Camembert Cheese and Cranberry Sauce Fillo Bites

You may want to grab an extra box because these are gonna go fast! Rather than one large cheese round, go for these two-bite sweet and savory appetizers. They cook up in a fraction of the time, and are bound to be a hit.

Pass: Brie en Croute

Unlike the homemade version, the Trader Joe’s version uses an outer shell more akin to pie crust than puff pastry dough.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Caramelized onions, melted Swiss, and broth channel the signature flavor we know and love in French onion soup, although you won’t need a spoon because it’s all stuffed into a bite-sized piece of puff pastry.

Pass: Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Goat Cheese

Nothing against this trio of goodness, but it’s worth the effort to make this from scratch versus opting for the freezer aisle version. The biggest downfall is that the dates are on the tiny side, so this box of 10 isn’t likely to serve many people.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Grab: Herbaceous Cheesy Bites

Don’t be surprised if these bite-sized cheese balls leave your guests speechless. They’re mixed with a combo of mozzarella, Parm, and cream cheese for a soft, gooey center. Plus, there’s a touch of garlic and herbs and a blanket of panko that crisps up in the oven. Bonus points for including a bowl of marinara sauce for dipping!

Pass: Spinach and Kale Bites

When it comes to party food favorites, this duo of greens with a bit of Parm doesn’t quite measure up. These bite-sized snacks are best reserved for those nights when you want to kick back with Netflix and crave something that’s both comforting and makes you feel kinda healthy-ish.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Grab: Scallops Wrapped in Uncured Bacon

Go for the sure thing; scallops wrapped in bacon are always a party hit. We especially like the subtle brown sugar glaze that adds just the right amount of sweetness.

Pass: Spicy Shrimp Appetizer Duo

If you want an appetizer where the seafood shines, this one isn’t quite it. This duo of lemongrass shrimp wontons and Kung Pao shrimp rolls sound like the bite-sized dim sum hits, but both go heavy on the wrapping and too light on the shrimp filling.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Grab: Pastry Bites with Feta Cheese & Caramelized Onions

Caramelized onions, puff pastry, and melted cheese — is there really anything more to say? These pastry cups may just be our favorite frozen appetizer from Trader Joe’s. A tried-and-true hit!

Pass: Parmesan Pastry Pups

These are a step up from regular pigs in a blanket, and certainly delicious, but they’re best served while you’re watching the game on Sunday.

What are your favorite frozen appetizers from Trader Joe’s?